The purpose of the African Women in Cinema Blog is to provide a space to discuss diverse topics relating to African women in cinema--filmmakers, actors, producers, and all film professionals. The blog is a public forum of the Centre for the Study and Research of African Women in Cinema.

Le Blog sur les femmes africaines dans le cinéma est un espace pour l'échange d'informations concernant les réalisatrices, comédiennes, productrices, critiques et toutes professionnelles dans ce domaine. Ceci sert de forum public du Centre pour l'étude et la recherche des femmes africaines dans le cinémas.

29 December 2011

African cinema / "Tunisian Stories" or the paradoxical reality pervading Arab and African societies

Source: African Press Organisation for Leyth Production - Tunis, Tunisia, December 21, 2011 

The feature film Tunisian Stories by Nada Mezni Hafaiedh illustrates a captivating cinematographic work that touches the profound depths of Tunisian society and underscores the conspicuous contrast between the wealth of a minority sector and the poverty of most of its citizens.

This is the painful and paradoxical reality pervading most Arab societies, which plunges them into an oppressive social uncertainty and calls into question the distribution of wealth and the impact of the economic and social imbalance on the lives of ordinary people.

It is within this context that one may situate the film. With her first feature, the young director Nada Mezni Hafaiedh once again raises the question of the increasingly widespread social dichotomy that is causing considerable upheaval, and which in turn generates paradoxes in the Arab countries full of an appreciable amount of natural and potential wealth.

"Tunisian Stories may look like a film about the colourful life of troubled characters on a white backdrop: The Tunis of today and its agonies, with its radiant and shining facade. Glamorous, luxurious and flashy, offset with the loss of identity and the search for self, one's misery and harrowing daily existence," said Algerian Hichem Lague, the screenwriter for the film.

The choice of this specific spectrum of Tunisian society is not out of the blue, the director of the film is very familiar with it.

"Of course, neither a film or any kind of artistic project can cover or reveal all social categories. I chose to talk about these people with whom I mixed with since I came to live in Tunisia. To have been away from my country and to then rediscover it with its many facets is what this film is about. It is in fact a cinematic expansion of the documentary film +Singularity+ that I made not so long ago" she noted.

Moreover, the film's producer Mohamed Slim Hfaiedh announced that a portion of the proceeds of Tunisian Stories will go to the Tunisian Pediatrics Association, chaired by Dr. Mohamed Douagi, which promotes children’s health, a move that reflects the spirit of solidarity firmly anchored in Tunisian society as a whole.

Often, African films have depicted the ambivalent relations between the north and south. However, Tunisian Stories is differentiated by its social subject, which affects African society as a whole while developing a discourse that is in tune with African lived realities. By addressing issues common to all African societies, this characteristic gives the film an African dimension par excellence.

Tunisian Stories is the beginning of a long cinematic journey for Ms. Nada Mezni Hafaiedh who plans to make more feature films dealing with issues drawn from Tunisian society. It remains to be seen if the Ministry of Culture will encourage this film genre by providing the necessary budget for its implementation.

Translation from French to English by Beti Ellerson


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